There’s no such thing as the poop fairy!

September 6, 2015

It’s one of my favorite things to say as I talk to people across the County on why we all need to pick up after our dogs.  There is no magic wand or fairy that makes pet waste disappear after you leave it on the ground.  The poop goes somewhere – and in many cases its our local streams (or maybe under your shoe!).

As a proud owner of an 80 pound mutt, I experience many hours of joy and laughter because of the silly things my dog does.  Walking into my office with drool on my sleeve is not something I enjoy, but eventually will smile about because it reminds me of Bear.

Picking up Bear’s poop is not something I enjoy either, but it is something I am committed to do.  I believe every dog owner and walker should do it too, because it is a relatively easy way to do our part to protect our neighborhood streams and the common places we all share.

It’s simple: Scoop it, bag it, trash it!


What’s the Big Deal with Pet Waste?

Did I mention that my dog weighs 80 pounds? Using an online poop calculator (yes, they exist), it is estimated that he can produce up to 500 pounds of waste every year. Can you imagine if everyone who walks a dog in the County did not pick up after them?


Image of woman walking dog.

Ana and her dog Bear


Pet waste contains bacteria and parasites that can make people and pets sick. When left on the ground, it washes down storm drains and ends up in our rivers and streams.

Having to walk my dog at least two times a day allows me to see firsthand the many areas that have become “dumping” grounds for pet waste.  In the end, our dogs and kids pay the price because those areas are no longer prime spots for play. Who wants to walk or play near smelly areas?

This issue has a simple solution: Scoop it, bag it, trash it!

Very simple!


-Ana Arriaza, Department of Environmental Protection


6 comments on "There’s no such thing as the poop fairy!"

  1. Hilary says:

    But isn’t it bad also to put all those plastic bags in our landfill? We scoop our poop and toss in the woods so it decomposes into the earth. This is not better?

    1. Gwen Bausmith says:

      Hi Hilary,

      Thanks for the great question! Montgomery County does not have an active landfill, we have a waste to energy facility. Any trash that’s being collected by the Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services is being converted to energy. There is more information about the facility on our website. If you aren’t sure who collects your trash, or if you have a management company who handles it, you can check with them.

      We like to encourage residents to reuse plastic bags that would end up in the trash one way or another. For example, the author of this blog collects bread, bagel, and produce bags from coworkers. Those bags would otherwise end up in the trash, but she is able to reuse them to collect pet waste.

      Letting dog waste decompose on the ground poses several issues. The waste may contain bacteria and parasites that can spread to humans and other animals, as well as nitrogen and phosphorous that contribute to nutrient pollution. All of the above pollutants also end up washing into our rivers and streams, which harms our local waters. You can find more information on our website.

      I hope this information helps answer your questions. If you have further questions, please email us at and we will put you in contact with one of our specialists. Thanks!

    2. lilkunta says:

      @ Hilary please DONT DO THAT
      Could you take the poop home and flush it?
      Then recycle the plastic bag at the grocery store?
      Whole foods, Giant, Safeway, ShopRite all have bag recycle bins out front.

  2. Alison Klein says:

    Thanks for this post! I’m going to share with my husband, who insists that it’s totally fine to leave the droppings of our 120 lb. Great Dane lying around. #gross #irresponsible #scoopit

    1. Gwen Bausmith says:

      Hi Alison, thanks for the comment! I just spoke with our office’s pet waste expert and she calculated that a 120lb dog produces roughly 822lb of poop per year! That’s a good statistic to share with your husband 🙂
      Let us know if you need any other info!

  3. Gloria says:

    Where can I get a sign? Would love to have one in our neighborhood

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